Saturday, January 8, 2011

~K-Drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal [2010]~

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Yeay! Another review. This time it’s my take on K-drama Syungkyunkwan Scandal (SKKS). It’s not a new drama. The show wrapped up its finale two months ago. I planned to write a review shortly after finishing it, but alas, circumstances forbid me from doing so. I finally got tickled to type up the review after getting my friend to watch the first 6 episodes, and tweeting about it last night. Granted, it’s not another blockbuster movie. I wanted to write a review on Buried. But since it’s a one-man-show movie, I guess I could catch up sometime by making one-paragraph-review. Ha!

Anyway let’s start with the synopsis (taken from ): SKKS is set in Sungkyunkwan University in the late Joseon era during the reign of King Jeongjo, revolving around the exploits and love stories of four youths. When her younger brother’s illness worsens and their family is in danger of being evicted from their house for lack of money, Kim Yoon Hee enters the school under his name, disguised as a boy in his desperation to support him. There, he becomes friends with the intelligent and upright Lee Sun Joon, the playboy Goo Yong Ha and rebeliious Moon Jae Shin.

Chajatta! SKKS is the crack that beat all crack dramas this year, for me. I stayed up more than 20 hours for the dramathon and to go back watching my fave scenes. I would have stayed up more than 24 hours straight if only I didn’t get Rp 70.000,- rip-off for a cramped bus on my way home to Jakarta and had to go to work real early the next morning. Yes. Sometime reality has its wicked way to interfere with the wonderful life at K-dramaland. I was so hooked on the show that I had serious withdrawal symptom after it ended (going over my fave scenes, laughing at the hilarious scene on episode 8, downloading the fanvid at youtube, making screencaps, and mooning over Moonie. Ha! Puns!). This is the show that reduced me to a 12-year-old fangirl who squealed, swooned, smiled, drooled, cheered, and clapped over random scenes. Ah, how I loved Moonie’s valiant entrance in the first episode, the fights over sleeping spots in the bedroom, Moonie’s hiccups, Moonie’s smile and sad chuckles. Yong-Ha’s cute twirls and winks, the moment Moonie get a glimpse of Yoon-Hee fair maiden body, the wonderful chemistry between the four leads, and Lee Sun Joon’s dad (oops. Did I just said that out loud?)


What first kindled a mild interest in me from SKKS was the setting of the drama: youth, school, student life. I always love this setting. That’s why my past beloved repertoire centered around students dorama like Great Teacher Onizuka, Dragon Zakura, Nobuta wo Produce and Gokusen. Heck, that was also the reason that drawn me to read Harry Potter. And as I recall way back, Malory Towers always holds a special spot in my heart. Anyway enough reminiscing, let’s get back to the real business at hand.

In addition to the setting, the premise (another cross-dressing plot, it’s not something new, but I always like the homoerotism overtone it creates) steered by humor, romance, bromance, intrigue, and misery made this show a one helluva ride. Not to mention the lush cinematography, and most importantly, the lovable, squeal-worthy leading characters.

Kim Yoon-Hee was a spunky yet cynical heroine. Lee Sun Joon was idealistic and righteous to the core. The perennial cutie Yong-ha was an intriguing character. He kept me guessing whether he is one of the bad guys or the good guys at the beginning. It’s interesting to watch him developed his bond of loyalty with his friends that spurred his courage.

And do I have to mention Moon Jae Shin (a.k.a Moonie)? He had me at hello. He was the vigilante who roamed the village at night to shoot arrows and letters at corrupt government officials. He had every ingredient to make a TRAGIC hero: Rough exterior? Check. Valiant? Check. Dashing? Check. Pained past? Check. Daddy issues? Check. Got the girl? Uncheck. Yes. Tragic. I guess this was why me and almost every other girl who ships for Moonie boat fell for him. His gaze as he followed Yoon-Hee home from a distance. The heartbreaking misunderstanding that ensued while he carried Yoon-Hee on his back (cruel writer-nim, giving him a piggy-ride scene with the girl he never gonna get?!) His sad chuckles when he realized that he is not the one that Yoon-Hee had her sight on. His silent retreat from the romance scene without ever making Yoon Hee aware of his feelings. It. Killed. Me. Over and over again.

Admittedly, as separate characters, they were cute and endearing. But put the four of them together and it’s awesome! It’s addicting to watch the off-the-chart chemistry from the four of them as Jal-Geum Quartet. Especially the bromance shared between Yong-ha and Moonie, which will go down as one of the greatest loves in K-dramaland. It beat the romance between Yoon-Hee and Sun Joon. I mean, I loved watching how Sun Joon was angsting over his “forbidden” feelings for Yoon Hee. And once they got together, it was really cute to watch, changing notes at the library, studying at the library, first kiss at the library. Well, they're bookworms, so it's evident that the library is their special spot. But, I was not as enthusiastic as I expected to. Maybe because I was always rooting for Moonie, but most of all, it was because I could never fully get behind their romance on an emotional level, even if I understood why they are so perfect for each other. The cynical and the idealist. They complete each other. But still, for me, it’s the bromance that kept me glued to my laptop’s screen.

The only bathos for me was the deflating ending. It has a saccharine sweet ending that was handled in a haphazard manner. As if the writer suddenly realized that the show is reaching the end and thus forced him to wrap up all of the loose plots in the last 20-minutes. But most of all, I couldn’t stand the cop-out ending where it refused to answer the ultimate question the show posed: would Yoon-Hee finally able to retain her real identity as a girl and live out her life standing tall as smart, intellectual woman amid the men? Well I can’t really tell. The ending was kinda blurred. But I hope she did. Because otherwise this whole sacrifices made by Yoon-Hee’s dad and Moonie’s hyung for Geumdeungjisa which reverberates equal education for all –an idea I would love to see being accomplished-would be wasted. And it was a letdown to not have the final look of Moonie in his mane-of-glory...

But all in all cheers for the Jal Geum Quartet and the helluva ride you guys took me in. SKKS will always hold a fond memory in my heart. :)